Public Service Announcement Urges Victims of Priest Abuse to Speak up

The Mercury News [Los Angeles CA]
October 21, 2003

LOS ANGELES - A 30-second public service announcement unveiled Monday by a national advocacy group urges victims of child sexual abuse committed by priests to come forward and tell authorities.

The public service announcement, "Report the Crime, Protect a Child," features a molestation victim recounting his experience.

The video features Lee Bashforth, a Newport Beach stock broker, who alleges he was a victim of priest abuse.

"I was molested as a child. I lived my life with memories buried deep inside. I felt like I was the only one," Bashforth said in the video. "I had to face the fear and shame head on ... to do the right thing. To contact the police and tell them what happened to me."

The film was created by Lisa J. Freberg, a filmmaker and commercial director who has spent the past two years documenting the grass roots movement of clergy sexual abuse survivors. Her documentary film, "Zero Tolerance," is in post-production.

"Lee Bashworth to me is so courageous that he would do this public service announcement and go on camera and say this happened to me," Freberg said. "In most subjects this personal, it's usually a dramatization or actors. For me it was profound that it's an actual victim. It's his testimony. In a very large way, I feel this is taking big steps toward victims realizing the shame is not there's, this is something that happened to them."

The spot, which was produced by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priest, ends with Bashforth calling on others to help stop sexual abuse by priests by reporting crimes to protect children.

"It's never to late to report child abuse. And doing so helps protect kids and heal people who've already been wounded," said David Clohessy, national director of SNAP. "When victims remain quiet, kids remain at risk."

The spot, which the group is requesting California stations and cable networks broadcast, is also a response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a state law allowing prosecution of decades-old sex abuse allegations, Clohessy said.

"In the wake of the decision, some victims have felt helpless and we want them to hear (a victim's) experience and know that justice can prevail, but only if people speak up," Clohessy said.


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